Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner - Why Mediation for their Divorce?
Much of the news in the past week has centered around Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner attending mediation to resolve custody issues in their divorce. But what is mediation and why would they choose to attend mediation? While we can't know for certain their reasoning, we have a few ideas - not only for why they would attend mediation but why anyone would prefer mediation.
What is mediation? And is it only for celebrities?
Mediation is an option for everyone - not just celebrities. Mediation is a process where a third party neutral helps you and your spouse work through all of your issues in your divorce process to find creative, long lasting solutions. Mediation allows you to keep your divorce costs low, stay in control of your agreements, and in many cases - avoid going to court all together. This is an alternative to using litigation - where you and your spouse each hire your own attorney to go through the divorce process.
While you will see reference to "mediation" in almost every celebrity divorce - most celebrity couples are using mediation for the same benefits that mediation provides anyone during their divorce process.
Confidentiality / Privacy
The main reason Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner are using mediation is for the confidentiality and privacy it offers. Mediation is typically protected under most state laws as a confidential process - meaning any communications that occur in mediation - stay in mediation. What many people don't realize is the divorce process is public record - meaning that anyone could go to court and seek out information about your divorce and agreements. How did the news outlets even know that Joe and Sophie were going through a divorce? If the celebrity themselves doesn't make a statement publicly, a reporter could simply walk into the court and ask for the record of their filing. In many cases, if a divorce goes to trial with a judge, the courtroom is even open for the public to attend.
This element of privacy not only protects celebrities, but every day people who want this challenging time in their lives to be kept private within their family. Mediation provides privacy to the couple working through the divorce process, limiting the number of files with the court, and making your process as confidential as possible.
Another reason mediation can be advantageous is timing. The news continues to cover that Joe and Sophie will be entering mediation within the week - which would typically be unheard of for getting time with a judge in a litigated case. In mediation, you control your timeline - meaning you can move as quickly or slowly through your process as you want. This differs from litigation where you are on the court's timeline. If Joe and Sophie had waited for a date with the judge, it likely would have been weeks if not months. By using mediation, they can reach agreements quickly - on their timeline.
By controlling your timeline, it not only helps you reach agreements more quickly but also allows you to have more time with your professional. There has been a lot of reference to Joe and Sophie attending 4 days of mediation to begin working through custody issues (parenting time). In comparison, even if they were to see a judge - it would likely be for a very short slot of time, typically less than an hour. This is allowing them the time to work through agreements and find solutions, rather than have to wait to meet with a professional again while conflict goes unaddressed.
Most people going through a divorce process will want to begin addressing issues from the start, rather than waiting to finalize all agreements with their divorce. As an example, Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner entered mediation to resolve temporary custody issues related to their children. These may not be longterm solutions, but will help them create stability for their children during the divorce process. Other concerns couples may want to address before waiting for the divorce finalization include:
Temporary child support or spousal maintenance (alimony)
Where will each spouse be living during the divorce?
Will they split their finances now or when the divorce ends?
How will parenting time work during the divorce process?
How will day-to-day expenses be handled before and/or after the finances are separated?
A divorce process can take time, and ultimately temporary agreements can help couples limit their conflict by finding solutions that can work now to add some stability as they work through their divorce. In this case, Joe and Sophie need to resolve their temporary parenting time agreements so they know where the children are living while the divorce proceedings continue.
Limiting Conflict & Building Communication
Conflict is something that grows over time - let it be during a divorce or simply a dispute between two individuals. By beginning communication up front, you are preventing further conflict to cloud your process into the future. By having discussions about resolvable issues now, such as child custody, Joe and Sophie are ultimately opening lines of communication and preventing conflict from growing. This is not saying that having conversations can't lead to more conflict because it can. Instead, mediation is allowing you to resolve one set of issues at a time, limiting the areas for conflict to grow and go unresolved over time.
Ultimately, divorce mediation can be a shorter, less expensive, and all-around beneficial process for anyone going through a divorce. It gives families privacy, helps them resolve conflict throughout, and limits the amount of time they need to work through their divorce process.
Have questions about divorce mediation? Contact us today for a free consultation.